Cut through all the confusing online advice: make sure you DEFINITELY do these five simple things whenever giving a presentation.
There is loads of advice out there about what you should and shouldn’t do when standing up to give a presentation. We should know, we’ve contributed a lot of it ourselves. Many of the online posts and articles get very specific, focusing on one small area of presenting. However, sometimes you just need a quick and simple burst of information to set you on the correct course.
If you do, read on. Here are the five things you should definitely do during your presentation.
1, Use fresh AF visuals
The vast majority of us are exposed to presentations on a fairly regular basis, be it at work, school, or university. It’s the reason there are so many PowerPoint jokes out there – we all get them.
That’s why you have to be creative when picking your images and visuals. Thousands of people before you have Googled ‘people shaking hands’ and used the first image they found. If you do something lazy like that, your presentation will stand out for all the wrong reasons. So get fresh.
Be creative when it comes to interpreting something with an image. The shot of people shaking hands might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about making a deal. So make sure that definitely ISN’T the image you settle on.
Be new, be different, stand out.
2, Keep your language simple
So, you’re an expert in your field and you know “all the best words” to quote a certain president. However, how appropriate are those words to your audience? Is your presentation filled with jargon and complicated phrases?
If so, take a leaf out of a slightly more effective world leader, Winston Churchill. Churchill knew the power of simple language and the resonating strength of Anglo-Saxon words over Latinate words.
A sentence that might make total sense to you, living as you do in your professional bubble, might mean nothing to your audience. Therefore the advice is to simplify your language as much as you can to expose the central meaning behind your presentation.
3, Depend on yourself, not your slides
Investing time and creative energy in your slides is hugely important, but remember this: you’re giving the presentation, not your deck.
We’ve written several times before about what should and shouldn’t go on your slides. The core message is essentially ‘not a lot’. Use impactful words and sentences, brief stats and figures… anything that doesn’t require your audience to read.
Instead, deliver all that information yourself. Be an actual presenter and present. Make sure the most memorable thing is you and how your personality projected the data. Take a leaf out of your new-found attitude to sourcing imagery and treat your audience to something new.
Use PowerPoint’s speaker notes section to help with remembering your speech, and the slides themselves. Rehearse your presentation using the slides as memory aids. Each should ignite your memory, helping you to the next part of your speech, while visually backing up what you’re saying for your audience’s benefit.
4, Tell a story and emote
People love a story. It draws them in, keeps them engaged, and makes them feel like they’ve gained something afterwards.
A presenter standing up before them to deliver cold facts and figures, even with great slides, won’t leave a positive impression. Make sure you present your info as a person, displaying what the subject of the speech really means to you.
Be emotional. No, don’t burst into fake tears when you describe how last year’s sales fell slightly. Instead, make sure your delivery is personal – that is what people will relate to. And if they’re relating to you, they’re listening and engaging.
Be sure to consider the story of your presentation when writing your script, something about which we delved into further detail right here.
5, Keep to your allotted time
Just as anyone who has pushed themselves at a Pizza Hut buffet lunch knows, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Even if your presentation is nailing it, and your audience are drinking it down gleefully, remember your time limit.
Going over your allotted time is just rude. Not only will it mess up the schedules of your audience, it also risks turning them against you.
Similar to a TV script writer penning a show to fit to the advert breaks, plan your presentation carefully. Know how much time you have allotted to speak, and stick to that like Spider Man sticks to buildings.
Write your script to fit that time, then rigorously rehearse it over and over. Knowing the time you have to speak allows you better plan a more engaging structure. You can plan your ‘story’ with peaks and troughs, better tugging at the audience’s emotions.
Keep these five pieces of advice in mind when it comes to planning your presentation. Start here, then go hunting for more specific advice. But hey… have fun up there.
If you need more help in planning that killer client presentation, get in touch with us today. From expertly designed slides, to damn-clever PowerPoint development, no one does presentations like we do.